How To Sew A Buttonhole Without A Buttonhole Foot

Here we have a sewing guide for buttonholes! It is captivating how something so small can be so challenging. This article is all about how to sew a buttonhole without a buttonhole foot. Sounds interesting? Well, yes, you can!

This method we will talk about is handy with a sewing machine, and the key to sewing it is tweaking until you explore what setting will work properly on your sewing machine to attain the buttonhole you desire. So, let’s start with it. Then, keep reading the article till the end to acknowledge the entire process, step by step.

How To Sew A Buttonhole Without A Buttonhole Foot

To begin with, how to sew a buttonhole without the buttonhole foot, we need to gather some important things. It includes a ruler, a button, some writing instruments, a pair of scissors, the fabric you need to sew buttonholes on, and the interfacing. Then, of course, you will need the sewing machine as these steps are all done with its help.

After you gather all the necessary items, the first thing you need to do is measure your button. This will tell you how big your buttonhole will be. After that, iron your interfacing and draw a line for your buttonhole while adding the slightest bit of length to your line so that the buttonhole can slip around easily.

You need to draw two lines perpendicular to the line you made, creating the uppercase as this will be helpful when you sew your buttonhole. It will work as the beginning and the endpoint for stitch.

Starting on the shorter ends, you need to place the lines in the center of your presser foot of the machine and then go up the sides of your buttonhole. After determining the best settings on the sewing machine, you need to sew down that first side stopping at the other end. With the needle down, pick the presser foot up and turn the fabric to sew down the opposite way. After that, it’s time to stand back as you are done with a buttonhole without a buttonhole foot.

Let’s get in a step-by-step detailed structure of how to sew a buttonhole without a buttonhole foot.

Before we begin with the steps to sew a buttonhole without using any buttonhole foot, you need to remember that models vary in types of the sewing machine! We are going through the standard criteria for sewing machines but if your device is different, get through its guide.

Step 1 – Prepare the Items Required

Before beginning with the stitching process, we need to gather all the items we need to sew the buttonhole. You will need some pieces of fabric as per your desire, a thread, bobbin pins, buttons, sewing gauge, iron, and scissors.

Step 2 – Measure The Button and Mark The Measurement

It would be best if you began by measuring the button with your sewing gauge. After measuring the button, you need to mark a longer line than the button measurement onto the fabric you chose. After doing so, you need to draw about two lines at the top and bottom of that line, in a perpendicular way, to make a letter “I” shape.

Step 3 – Set Your Sewing Machine

On your sewing machine, you will notice some stitching points to set the pointer on. It includes the straight, zigzag, and overlock stitches and the row buttonhole stitches. So you need to put it at buttonhole stitches.

Your machine may sew differently in distinct buttonhole patterns, so you need to know it accordingly. You can use buttonhole patterns like 4-step, two steps, and a 5-step as well.

Step 4 – Begin With Sewing

Now, we need to start sewing the fabric to make the buttonhole. You can set your stitch selector on the machine to number 8 because that is the first step in the buttonhole. After that, do a couple of test runs to determine which direction it is sewing in the buttonhole.

Step 5 – Set The Stitch Length

You need to set the stitch to a short length. In some machines, the size of the space is color-coded to match your buttonhole. You also need to select the stitch width to something about the narrow end; that is, each zig-zag stitch needs to be closer to the other without spreading out.

Also, if your machine doesn’t comprise the buttonhole stitches, you need to set the stitch length to a long one so that a bartack is created properly.

Step 6 – Adjust The Presser Foot and Get Ready to Sew

It is now time to adjust your presser foot of the sewing machine. So, it would help if you place it in the middle of those distinct pieces of your double-layered fabric. After doing so, you are all ready to sew. You now need to press your foot pedal and begin with the work.

Step 7 – Set Your Machine To The Bartack Step and Turn Your Fabric

Bartack is the bottom and the top stitches of your buttonhole. They can be considered as the end and the sides of the buttonholes. You need to practice the bartack to get the professional stitch.

After this, you need to turn your fabric in your machine; that is, you need to lower your needle into the fabric, raise the presser foot, and turn your fabric over the needle so that you are headed in the correct direction.

Step 8 – Select The Side of Buttonhole and Sew

Now, you need to select another side of your buttonhole and start sewing it. Always check out which direction it travels. As already told, you can set your stitch length and width to a satin stitch to complete the second side of your buttonhole.

Step 9 – Finish the Last Bartack

Finally, you need to make some notations of the pattern and order in which your buttonhole stitches are sewed. Continue practicing these steps to get the perfect and ideal buttonhole with the machine.

Step 10 – Repeat The Process To Get A Thicker Stitching

Now, you are not done yet. You need to get the thicker stitch line to break while letting the button in. You can repeat the entire process of stitching with the machine to make it thicker and graceful.

Which Direction Is Ideal To Sew Buttonholes?

We should start with sewing on the left side of the buttonhole and go upwards to the first corner. Then we usually go across the second corner and then back to the third to get to its original corner.

That is the ideal way it is done when you are sewing without the buttonhole foot. Some people also go to the left side, first across the bottom and then the right side, and finally the top for the last one. It will depend on how your machine is set up to work, as the stitches for the buttonhole are programmed to stitch differently.

How To Sew A Two-Stitch Buttonhole?

If you are good at knitting, this may seem simple as two-stitch buttonholes are more popular for knit fabrics. The first step is to work from where you desire the button to go and then pull the yarn to the front, slip the purl, and then return to the thread.

You need to repeat the step slip one purl and then pass on the first slipped stitch over the other, and it will be repeated about 1 to 4 times. Now, place the final stitch on the needle, turn, and then cast on 3-6 stitches with the appropriate needle inserted between the starting and the second stitch.

Now, you can draw the loop and put that over the left needle. Repeat the process 4-5 times. Finally, bring back the yarn, slip the first stitch from the left needle over the right, and pass the last stitch. After that, work to the row’s end, and you are done with the two-stitch buttonhole.

How To Sew The Extra Large Buttonholes Without Buttonhole Foot?

Several modern machines have the buttonhole foot with them as the automatic sewing feature, making it even easier to stitch several similar buttonholes in a row. But sometimes, to make the larger buttonhole, you need to control the size of the stitch and its placement on the machine manually while stitching.

One of the drawbacks to sew the large buttonholes with the buttonhole foot is that it is designed to handle the oversized buttons. Hence, you need to make more adjustments when you desire a big buttonhole.

Besides, you will also need some stabilizing, primarily when you are using them on the knit or velvet fabrics. After that, when you get ready, you can measure, trace, and pin, similar to the process for a regular-sized buttonhole.

Just that, your machine will need some adjustments, and that will depend on the type of sewing machine you have. After doing so, you can go up one side, then across, and back upwards the other before closing the buttonhole box off.

After the stitches get done and have the zig-zag pattern or the buttonhole stitching pattern as per your machine, you need to cut. Several sewing machines also have a buttonhole sensor, so you can also manipulate that to get the job done easily.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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